The Big C

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The Three Cathy Jamisons

Andrea pronounces this entire thing "weird," and asks to go home. Sean speaks up as well, in the awkward silence, and he doesn't even have a home. Andrea asks after Adam, and Cathy says she's given up on him. Upstairs, Adam is being a brat, and Andrea does not have time for his bullshit. Here's how it goes:

"Your mother made a goddamn meal for you, and it might be shitty and made with intestines but she did it and now she's catching all the shit for it, so you get your skinny ass downstairs because everybody else is old and freaking me the fuck out."

Andrea listens to Daphne talk about auras for awhile before pointing how that it is bullshit, and Cathy laughs that her attitude might turn her aura "all gray and yucky." Daphne endears herself to Andrea forever by disagreeing: In fact, Andrea's aura is pink and kind of sparkly. "A girlie aura," Andrea pronounces it, pleased, to herself, and Adam messes with her about it. They crack each other up; they are friends. Cathy watches them, pleased to have done something right.

"Sick people sometimes look gray or cloudy white," Daphne says, as though Cathy's interested, and she gets very scared suddenly that it's not bullshit after all, so she hops up to offer more disgusting casserole. Nobody's interested, but the subject is changed, and that's all Cathy really wanted. When she tries to sit down, Sean's moved her chair just a few inches back, throwing her off, terrifying her. She slaps at him a few times, sister to brother, and Daphne's eyes bug out in fear. He does it again, and she punches him. They tussle, to the kids' delight, and Daphne nearly starts crying.

Sean says this is just one reason he never talks about Cathy, and tells Adam he's proud to be related to him, and then he and Daphne talk baby-talk at each other for awhile; Andrea and Adam agree that watching Daphne kiss Sean is even grosser than the casserole. They argue back and forth, laughing -- "Doesn't that look delicious? It's purple. Who doesn't want to eat purple?" -- and Cathy watches them, this sudden family of her people. Andrea and Adam, making it look easier than anything. Sean, the homeless brother with a beautiful girlfriend. How alone they all are not.

Thomas licks her calf and she watches them, alone, pours another glass of white. How do they make it look so easy? How does she manage to make it so hard? Of all the Cathy Jamisons, why do all of them inspire this fear? She knows they love her, of course they love her. She forces them to love her. But just because she holds herself to impossible standards, and always has, why do they assume the same is true for them? Why are all the Cathy Jamisons so dreadfully judgmental, when all she's ever tried to do is love?

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The Big C

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